There is something about Varun Dhawan. His honesty reflects through his work. Sui Dhaaga is another feather in his increasingly illustrious hat. It’s a feel good film which banks initially on relatable characters and the futility of our economic system, but goes a bit off track to be a fantasy film in the 2nd half. Writer and director Sharat Katariya focuses on the struggles of daily life of a couple marred with economic hardship. It’s a simplistic portrayal of life, in which triumphs come easy and everyone gets their due.
Varun Dhawan as Mauji is married to Mamta (Anuskha Sharma) and they live with Mauji’s parents, played by Raghubir Yadav and Yamini Dass. Mauji’s’ grandfather was a famous tailor but he lost all his money in the business. Hence, his son hates anything related to tailoring and worked a menial job to support his family. He expects the same of his son. Mauji, however is free spirited. He works as a handy boy at a shop but he continuously humiliated by the owner’s son. Mamta persuades him to quit his job and start his own business. In a lovely moment, she says something to this effect ‘Ap jab mujhy dekhnay aaey thy to mai apkay waistcoat ka kam dekh kr haran reh gaie the’. In a life full of dull moments, these two find pleasures in glances and talking through small windows.
However, the father son relationship is rather complicated. The father is perpetually annoyed and thinks the world owes him something. The man cries watching TV serials. He sees Mauji’s brother who has more or less cut off from the family to be with his wife’s family as the ideal son. While, the mother is warm and loving, she is facing health issues. How Mauji and Mamta navigate through this complexities of the financial hardships of life makes for pleasurable viewing. Their inevitable triumph is to be celebrated.
The film, especially in the 1st part is about real life problems. Such people squabbling over water, neighbours fighting over little financial matters and the anxiety joblessness brings to a lower middle class family. In these moments, the director and writer provide us with instant victories. Some are nuanced, while others out loud. You enjoy both. However, in the 2nd half this is taken a step further. What starts as a fight for a single stitching machine, turned into a mass production operation! This is where cinematic liberties are taken. Greedy businessmen try to rip-off designs of Mauji and Mamta. Old school tailors, who had given up the trade for years suddenly are able to produce amazing end products. Still, given the pretentiousness of the fashion industry (generally), it was fun watching them worry about some small town darzi. The director takes many liberties yet reaches a straight forward conclusion without a lot of drama. You want Mauji and Mamta to win, because you are invested in their journey. It’s a journey many of us have been through or know someone who has. It makes for endearing cinema.
Varun Dhawan brings a certain charm to Mauji. His smile is infectious, spirit unbreakable. While, Anuksha Sharma as the enabler is happy to take a back seat. A requirement of the film. Their relationship is of pure love. Neither thinks too much, before putting their own egos aside to make the other one happy. It’s a delightful portrayal of a husband wife relationship. However, the father son, brothers relationship had pretty rushed conclusions.
In the 1st of the film, we see confined shots, close up shots of both Mauji and Mamta as they shed a tear facing one obstacle after another. In the 2nd half, much like the film, the DOP lets us see a bigger picture. The background score is triggering, and suggestive. Helps with the mood of the film. While none of the songs are outstanding but in the context they seemed fulfilling.
Watch the film for its relationships and brilliant acting. Thankfully, it didn’t go down the Toilet route in making this a government publicity stunt. The focus is on character overcoming hindrances to make their dreams come true. However, this film doesn’t want you to quit your job and follow your dream; rather it wants to make you smile, revel in the success of the underdog and learn from Mauji’s infectious goodness.
Nothing can defeat you, when you can keep telling yourself ‘Sub barhya hai’.